Basil Johnston. Ojibway Heritage
Of the animal beings, the dog was endowed with the least exceptional powers. He was less fleet than the fox; he was weaker than the wolf; he was less cunning than the mink. Compared to the fisher, the dog was a poor swimmer; beside the deer, the dog was awkward. Less gifted than his brothers, the dog had nothing to offer. He could not serve. Nevertheless, he felt constrained to do something. In his despondency, he pledged to give his love. Others could serve according to their natures and capacities; he to his.
This passage about the dog is embedded in the story of the first humans.
In the first year, the animal beings nourished and nurtured the infants and the spirit woman
[… section about what each animal gives, followed by the dog section quoted above which continues thus …]
Consequently, the dog settled down by the side of the bed in which the sleeping infants lay, alternately sitting or lying down. He gazed into their eyes, placed his head near their feet, or played to amuse them. The babies smiled. From that time on the dog never left the side of man.
I am of the persuasion that the passage derives its strength from the clincher: “The babies smiled.”
For some reason, there comes to mind the shortest verse in the King James Bible: “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35).
The succinct phrase, however, does not tell us how long the keening nor the duration of the smiling.
And so for day 1741